Take a straight line, vertical. Follow it one light year. Up.
Stop. Take a rest. Then go another two.
You will be three light years from home now, if my math is right. At this point – because this is not in your hands – the content of your bladder will be sloshing around your underpants. There is no gravity, so it will stay there.
Meanwhile, you will have become aware that matters are out of the ordinary, and you will seek something familiar, something to reassure you. First urgently, then DESPERATELY. In the end you will seek ANYTHING to rest your eyes on. But you will see only blackness.
This observation will be accurate because, indeed, there will be ABSOLUTELY NOTHING FOR SEVERAL MILLION MILES IN ANY DIRECTION, not a speck of dust, not a twinkle of light.
Time will elapse. The piss in your pants you will have forgotten; likewise that morning’s scheduled PowerPoint presentation on debt guarantees. All this stuff will be far removed from your mind. And the nameless woman you left in your bedroom that morning: a mental artifact.
Having struggled outwardly, now your thoughts will scramble for a foothold, but they will be in a quagmire of their own.
Suddenly, for reasons I will not share with you, you will think that all of this has to do with the fact that too many times in your life – a disproportionate number given your age – you have been insensitive, callous, and even – let us be plain– an ASSHOLE.
Perhaps you will be right in thinking so. Who is to say. I am not here to judge, even if I hold pinpoint-specific opinions about everything in the KNOWABLE universe. Even if I was instrumental in its creation.
You will cogitate on this briefly, but before you come to any conclusion you will begin to feel EXTRAORDINARILY SMALL – microscopic – but you will ascribed this to the immensity of space and the utter soundlessness in your ears. You will NOT consider that there may be other reasons you feel this way, reasons that are, let us say, more personal or metaphorical. I posit this is not because you are unsophisticated or unliterary, but because having been an asshole so long, so consistently –
Anyway, I will not pretend to know how you feel or what motivates a person such as yourself. I will only describe the events in a kind of journalistic fashion for the purpose of general edification, since it is easy for me to see what is going on in time and space in a way that you (plural) are not able to.
True, in the early days I played a role in your affairs, but now with all this mythology surrounding my capabilities and general attitude, not to mention all of the terrible shenanigans you've participated in these past few millennia, I have washed my hands of you. So I am here as an impartial observer, an occasional commentator, but certainly not as a fan.
Back to you.
You are suspended, your pants filled with urine; in your mind, that inkling that you have been an ASSHOLE just too many times. (It gnaws at me. This word means too many things these days: interpersonal, anatomical, and so on. In French it would be trou du cul which has more edge than the American asshole, but it is not used in this context even if it is more trenchant – also French… but I digress).
First you will think of karma, but realizing you do not know exactly what it means you will become distressed and quickly move onto more familiar western tradition, in particular, all those half-way stops like purgatory, anything as long as it is not everlasting. Forgive me here if I can no longer hold back an ironic grin that will have been pressing for some time.
Anyway, at the thought that you can now somehow “make good” you will feel briefly religious and an appropriate soul-nettling torment will follow. But nothing compared to what you will experience next.
Not right away, but it will come eventually. Like a train.
Unannounced, it will penetrate your core. You will be as if impaled! It will rip right through your being. So overwhelming will be this feeling that your sense of your own body will be completely eclipsed. Eternity and endlessness will fill your center and you will feel euphoric, but at the same “time”, so to speak, you will be drenched in terror.
As with any experience (rather than state) eventually it will come to an end. And when it does you will find that morning’s breakfast, partly digested, floating before your eyes. Finally, as more fluids continue to flow from every orifice of you body, you will attempt a devastating, existential roar which will go no further than the confines of your skull, there being no gas around to transport it.
As for me, from my vantage point over here, I will take note and perhaps do a little cogitating of my own. If it takes an awfully long time, perhaps I will toy with this phrase trou du cul a little longer as I am very interested in terminology as a field of study. In all events, rest assured, I will not tarry to bring all of this to an end at the earliest opportunity
(True, I am not completely uninvolved. But that’s also a matter of perspective).
OK. Take a straight line. Vertical. Three light years the other way. You may stop at your own discretion, you know the routine now.
If you see yourself on the way down it is because you exceeded the speed of light on the way up.
If you see yourself on arrival it is because you are back where you started, in the bathroom, in front of the mirror.